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Bevin: Kentucky should stop issuing marriage licenses

Bevin: Kentucky should stop issuing marriage licenses
Kentucky's Republican nominee for governor Matt Bevin thinks the government should be out of the marriage business forever.
Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor, thinks the government should be out of the marriage business forever. Timothy D. Easley, AP

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor says the state should stop issuing marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Matt Bevin said in a news release the government should be out of the marriage business altogether, arguing that the religious covenant of marriage should be separated from the “contractual relationship” recognized by the state.

“A license should not be needed,” he said. “As with other contracts, the government’s role should be limited to recording, interpreting, or enforcing such contracts in times of dispute.”

At least two county clerks in Kentucky have stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme court’s ruling. Those clerks, Kim Davis in Rowan County and Casey Davis in Casey County, object to same-sex marriage for religious reasons. They say issuing a marriage license with their name on it to a same-sex couple is the same as endorsing the marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Kim Davis on behalf of two gay couples and two straight couples who were denied marriage licenses. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Monday. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday personally asked Casey Davis to either issue marriage licenses or resign from office. But the clerk told reporters he would go to jail before he would resign.

Kentucky’s governor’s race offers the first test of the political impact of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling. Democratic nominee Jack Conway is also the state’s two-term attorney general. Last year, he made national news when he tearfully announced he would not appeal a district judge’s ruling overturning the state’s gay-marriage ban, saying to do so would be to advocate discrimination.

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